OPS4401 Specialization in Air Operations

Course code: 
Full course name in Norwegian Bokmål: 
Luftoperativ fordypning
Program of study: 
Master i militære studier
Level of study: 
Teaching semester: 
2021 Spring
Assessment semester: 
2021 Spring
Language of instruction: 
Person in charge: 
Ole Jørgen Maaø
Dag Henriksen
Course content

This course aims to increase the level of knowledge and understanding of the application of air power and the implementation of air force operations, relevant air force theories, what air powers are and what they contribute to in a joint operation, both nationally and within an alliance context. The course will provide the students with a deep and critical understanding of how air forces help and create effects in a joint operation, and the possibilities and limitations of air forces in cooperation with civilian agencies. The course will highlight air force operations from the political, strategic, operational and tactical levels (and the relationship between the levels), but will primarily focus on the operational level. Furthermore, the course will improve the knowledge of the political, social, technological and international legal conditions that shape the development and use of air power.

Learning outcome


After completion of the course, the student is able to:

  1. account for theories on the application of air power, and the political, strategic, operational and technological conditions affecting development theory
  2. discuss the possibilities and limitations of the air forces alone and in collaboration with other branches of defence
  3. explain Norwegian and allied air force operational doctrines and how these relate to national and allied joint operational doctrines
  4. explain the role of the Royal Norwegian Air Force in the defence of national interests, in both national and international operations


After completion of the course, the student is able to:

  1. formulate academic and critical reasoning, both in writing and orally, concerning the application and theory of air power
  2. independently analyse the application, theory and doctrines of air power within joint operations
  3. critically analyse and relate to various sources of information and apply these in order to structure and formulate academic reasoning

General competence

After completion of the course, the student is able to:

  1. discuss the planning and implementation of air force operations.
  2. convey and communicate the potential, frameworks, uses, strengths and weaknesses of air power, both orally and in writing, within military contexts and public spaces, thereby contributing to new knowledge and the development of good practice
Working and learning activities

The course is taught through a mixture of lectures, case studies, group work, self-study and various types of practice-based educational activities. 

Sensor system

Examination is carried out according to the Regulations for Admission, Studies and Examinations (in Norwegian, “Forskrift om opptak, studier og eksamen”) at the Norwegian Defence University College.


Bjerga, Kjell Inge og Saxi, Håkon Lunde (2018). Behovet for et norsk forsvarskonsept. I IFS-Insights 8/2018, lastet ned 17.10.2018 fra https://brage.bibsys.no/xmlui/bitstream/handle/11250/2558610/IFS%20Insights_8_2018.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y. (6 s.)

Diesen, Sverre (2018). Forstår vi dagens norske forsvarsproblem? I Norsk Militært Tidsskrift. 188, nr. 1. s. 4-16. (11 s.)

Dragsnes, Jens Gunnar Haugen (2018). Et luftforsvar er mer enn bare fly. I Norsk Militært Tidsskrift. 188, nr. 3. s. 4-11. (8 s.)

Erichsen, Olaf von Porat og Ødegaard, Geir (2016). Luftstyrker. I Andersen, Morten og Ødegaard, Geir red. (2016). Militære fellesoperasjoner – en innføring. Oslo: Abstrakt forlag, 2016, s. 197-217 (21 s.)

Forsvaret (2018): Forsvarets doktrine for luftoperasjoner, (160 s.)

Grandhagen, Kjell (2018). Are Land Forces relevant in High Northern Deterrence and Warfare? Foredrag ved Army Summit, Oslo, oktober 2018. (7 s.)

Henriksen, Dag. (2011). Airpower - The need for more Analytical Warriors. I Haug, Karl Erik og Maaø, Ole Jørgen red. Conceptualising Modern War. London: Hurst Publishing. s. 205-229. (25 s.)

Henriksen, Dag. (2013). Norges erfaringer fra operasjonene over Libya. Suksess uten innflytelse? Internasjonal Politikk, 71, nr. 1. s. 29-56. (27 s.).

Libya-utvalget (2018). Kapittel 8: Planlegging og gjennomføring av de militære operasjonene i Libya. s. 112-132. (21 s.)

Kiszely, John (2017). Anatomy of a Campaign. The British Fiasco in Norway, 1940.. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, s. 218-229. (12 s.)

Luftforsvarsstaben (2018). Mot et 5. generasjons luftforsvar – som gir full utnyttelse av nye kampfly. (26 s.)

Maaø, Ole Jørgen. (2007). Moderne luftmakt – ni observasjoner og fem paradokser. I Firing, Kristian, Hellemsvik, Karl og Haarberg, Johan. Kryssild. Militært lederskap i ny tid. Trondheim: Tapir Akademisk Forlag. s. 47-75. (27 s.).

Meilinger, Phillip S. (2018). Air power theory. I Olsen, John Andres red. Routledge Handbook of Air Power, Oxon: Routledge. s. 35-44. (10 s.)

NATO (2016). AJP-3.3 ALLIED JOINT DOCTRINE FOR AIR AND SPACE OPERATIONS Edition B Version 1 April 2016, kapittel 1 og 4 (36 s.)

Olsen, John Andreas (2015): The Quest for a New Airpower Strategy: Systemic Paralysis and Systemic Empowerment. Air & Space Power Journal, 29, May-June. s. 29-39, (11 s.).

Pape, Robert A. (1997/1998). The Limits of Precision-Guided Air Power. Security Studies, 7, nr. 2. s. 93-114. (21 s.).

Pape, Robert A. (1996). Bombing to Win. Air Power and Coercion in War. Ithaka: Cornell University Press. Kapittel 3: Coercive Air Power. s. 55-87. (32 s).

Svendsen, Tore (2013). Luftforsvarets bidrag til norsk krisehåndtering. I Heier, Tormod og Kjølberg, Anders red. Mellom fred og krig. Norsk militær krisehåndtering, Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. s. 126-141. (16 s.).

Sutyagin, Igor (2018). Russian Air Power. I Olsen, John Andreas red. Routledge Handbook of Air Power, Oxon: Routledge. s. 313-325. (13 s.)

Warden, John A. III (1995). The Enemy as a System. Airpower Journal, 9, Spring. s. 40-55. (16 s.).

Warden, John A. III (2015). Smart Strategy, Smart Airpower. I Olsen, John Andreas red. Airpower reborn. The strategic concepts of John Warden and John Boyd. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. s. 93-127. (35 s.)


Mandatory courseworkCourseworks givenCourseworks requiredPresence requiredComment
Paper11Not required
Obligatoriske arbeidskrav:
Mandatory coursework:Paper
Courseworks given:1
Courseworks required:1
Presence required:Not required
Form of assessmentGroupingDurationType of durationGrading scaleProportionOral examinationCommentSupported materials
MappevurderingIndividual -A-F100%Not required
Form of assessment:Mappevurdering
Type of duration:-
Grading scale:A-F
Oral examination:Not required
Supported materials:
Ole Jørgen Maaø